NEWTON, Mass., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc., a pioneer and leader in the new field of nuclear transport modulators, announces the recruitment of a highly experienced cancer drug developer, Michael G. Kauffman, MD, PhD, as its Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Kauffman will join Sharon Shacham, PhD, MBA, the Company's CSO and Head of Research and Development, as its executive management team. Kauffman's appointment follows the $20M Series A financing announced in November, 2010.
Karyopharm's lead program is focused on novel, small molecule SINE (Selective Inhibitors of Nuclear Export) targeting CRM1. CRM1 is a key linchpin governing the nuclear export of multiple tumor suppressors and growth regulatory proteins, providing a strategic point of therapeutic intervention for a diverse array of cancers. On joining Karyopharm, Kauffman, also a Karyopharm co-founder and Director, commented, "This is a rare opportunity to join a company firing on all cylinders -- strong funding, extremely promising lead compounds with broad and potent in vivo anti-tumor activity, a seasoned and committed scientific and development team, and leading cancer consultants. The clinical application, enabled further by sophisticated proprietary pharmacogenomic insights, offers the potential to transform cancer treatment with a new class of effective and well tolerated agents."
According to Karyopharm Co-Founder, Board Member and Harvard cancer scientist Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., "The recruitment of Dr. Kauffman represents a major advance for Karyopharm which is now poised to bring a powerful new class of cancer medicines for diverse cancers and other diseases. Michael brings an extraordinary record of professional achievement in the development of major novel cancer drugs and in building and managing highly successful biotechnology companies."
Board member and clinical advisor Dr. Mansoor Raza Mirza commented, "It is depressing to see my patients dying short of an effective treatment. We badly need novel active and well tolerated drugs in our war against cancer. Karyopharm is determined to contribute meaningfully to this goal. I am confident that Michael with his immense experience, with the Karyopharm team, will lead the company to a success and we will have a powerful new approach to conquer this deadly disease."
Prior to joining Karyopharm, Dr. Kauffman was the chief medical officer of Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., which acquired Proteolix Inc., where he lead the development of carfilzomib, a novel proteasome inhibitor expected to be submitted for accelerated approval in refractory myeloma by Onyx as early as mid-2011. Dr. Kauffman was President and Chief Executive Officer of EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (previously Predix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) from 2002 to 2008. He was the leader of the Velcade® Development Program at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and held a number of senior positions at Millennium Predictive Medicine and Biogen. Dr. Kauffman received his MD and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School and is board certified in internal medicine.
About Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc.
Karyopharm is a privately held oncology company headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, focused on the development of modulators of nuclear transport as novel therapies for cancer, inflammatory and other diseases. Drs. Sharon Shacham, Michael Kauffman, Ronald DePinho, and Giulio Draetta founded the company in 2009. The nuclear transport machinery plays an integral role in the regulation of many molecules involved in a broad spectrum of human and animal disease, and drug discovery has been enhanced with the recent determination of the 3-dimensional structure of the nuclear pore complex. Karyopharm is developing novel selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases and HIV. These SINEs act by forcing the nuclear localization of key tumor suppressor and growth regulatory proteins causing the selective death of cancer cells while sparing normal cells. The Karyopharm platform, utilizing rapid chemical optimization with integrated computational/in silico rational drug design, has yielded multiple novel active small molecule SINEs, which have shown potent activity in animal models of cancer. Additional programs focused on other aspects of nuclear export, as well as nuclear import, have been initiated.
SOURCE Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc.